Freethought Equality Fund to support candidates committed to secular government
At a Washington news conference yesterday, the Freethought Equality Fund was announced, as the new political action committee for the “nones”. What is a “none”? A “none” is someone who checks off the answer of “none” when asked for their religious affiliation, like atheists, agnostics and those who just aren’t affiliated with a religion or church.
From their website:
The mission of the Freethought Equality Fund (FEF) PAC is to change the face of American politics and to achieve equality by increasing the number of open humanists and atheists in public office at all levels of government. The FEF PAC is affiliated with the Center for Humanist Activism, which is the advocacy and political arm of the American Humanist Association.
The FEF PAC will provide nontheist Americans the opportunity to make their voices heard in the political process by supporting candidates who identify as humanist, atheist, agnostic, and who share our goals of protecting the separation of church and state and defending the civil liberties of secular Americans.
When people see respected ethical humanists and atheists serve in public office, this will begin to dispel many myths about nonbelievers. The FEF PAC will also support a number of candidates who identify as religious but who are leaders in supporting the rights of nonbelievers.
At the news conference, Maggie Ardiente of the American Humanist Association said “The Freethought Equality Fund will work to elect the nones … in addition to those who will work for our rights so we can finally have the representation in Congress we deserve.” Additionally, they hope to bolster the courage of already serving “nones”, to be upfront about their beliefs.
“We already know of more than two dozen closeted atheists serving in Congress today,” Ardiente said. “The fact that they’re in the closet about their nonbelief says a lot about why this PAC is greatly needed. The time to come out is now and the Freethought Equality Fund will help make it happen.”
According to the 2008 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 76% of Americans identify as some type of Christian, with another 2% identifying at Jewish or Muslim [editor’s note: adherents of these three monotheistic religions are referred to in the Quran as “Children of the Book” because of their mutual derivation]. 22% identify as other religions, atheists, agnostics, no religion or refused to answer the question.
There are indications, in numerous polls conducted over the past few years, that while those numbers haven’t shifted too much, the adherents on each side of the religious fence have gotten more polarized. The sense is that the polarization is in response to multiple issues in the political sphere: same-sex marriage, women’s reproductive rights, the fate of the social safety net, climate change, etc. It is interesting to note that while people are not abandoning their religions, some are jumping the fence to support the separation of church and state. The FEF PAC hopes to attract those folks, as well.